Joint statement on the importance of international education

Joint statement on the importance of international education

IHE has signed a joint statement on the importance of international students and international education to the new government with other education sector bodies.

Joint statement

As representatives of organisations which welcome at least 750,000 international students to the UK each year, we want to ensure the incoming Government supports our work through both words and actions.

The UK is recognised globally for the quality and range of our education system, yet our competitors are increasing their market share.

The benefits of international education go far beyond the economic, although with exports worth over £21bn in 2017 that is impressive enough. Our nation attracts dynamic young people to make their educational journey with us – perhaps starting as children in boarding school, teenagers on short language holidays or young adults in college – before moving on to higher education. They, and their adopted communities, tell us how much they value learning from each other and exploring each others’ cultures. Later, the UK can reap the benefits of their skills as well as their desire to become influencers for us, supporting good diplomatic and trading relationships.

Brexit is going to make all this more important. So how can the government help us to help the UK?

We want the Government to build on its International Education Strategy, investing more to promote the diversity and breadth of UK education and grow our market share. We want to hear more warm words of welcome for all students and student travellers. We want an immigration and visa system which makes it as easy as possible to enjoy an educational experience here, ideally allowing our European friends to continue with ID card travel and to encourage growth from new markets around the world. We want the UK to benefit from students’ skills by allowing them to work while they’re here and when they graduate. And we want the Government to commit to continue with the EU’s Erasmus + scheme which supports international learning.


Emma Meredith, International Director, Association of Colleges

British Educational Travel Association

Jodie Gray, Director of Strategic Development, English UK

Alexander Proudfoot, Chief Executive, Independent Higher Education

The Independent Schools Council

Anne Marie Graham, Chief Executive, UKCISA

Vivienne Stern, Chief Executive, Universities UK International


  • On 13th December 2019